Saturday, July 23, 2005


July 23rd, 1918

Pee Wee Reese Born

Since I was very young, I've always liked Pee Wee Reese for the incident described in this book when Reese publicly showed his support for Jackie Robinson in front of a hostile crowd in Cincinnati. (For those shopping for young baseball fans, incidentally, that's a great gift.) However, the incident most associated with Reese's birthday took place in Ebbets Field in 1955. Reese, in his second to last season as a regular and last as a better than average ballplayer, was celebrating his birthday at his home park. On account of this the Dodgers decided it would be a fun promotion to have a party at the ballpark.

To that end, they passed out small birthday candles to all in attendance (one can only imagine the reaction of an insurance company if you tried this today). When the seventh inning stretch came around, the ballpark lights were dimmed and the fans lit their candles. Then, as a cake was presented to Reese from the Dodgers, the crowd all sang Happy Birthday to their shortstop.

However Reese celebrates his birthday today, it is unlikely to quite be of the scale of thousands of loyal fans lighting candles and singing. But he'll always have the memory, and that's pretty good. Happy Birthday Pee Wee.

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